Memorial Stadium adds new Daktronics video boards for 2013 season

Even if the players are just specks on a green gridiron, Illini fans sitting in the upper reaches of Memorial Stadium will now be able to watch their team in quality HD on the stadium’s new video board.

The 36-by-96-foot video board, designed by South Dakota-based company Daktronics, is more than four times larger than the old video board at Memorial Stadium’s south end.

The $7.2 million project also includes two smaller video boards in the southeast and northeast corners of the stadium. These wall-mounted boards will provide views for fans seated in the lower level, whose view of the main video board will be obstructed by the overhang of the upper level seats. 

Additionally, ribbon boards measuring more than 400 feet have been added along the upper deck. These boards can provide advertising, statistics and scores from across college football.

“Our video displays and added ribbon boards will now be visible by almost every seat in the stadium,” athletic director Mike Thomas said in a statement.  

The main video board also features a scoreboard and a 50-foot ribbon board along the bottom. It is capable of showing one large image with live video and instant replay, or multiple smaller windows with a variety of graphics, animation, statistics, scores and advertisements. 

Daktronics has worked on numerous scoreboard and video board projects across the country. This summer alone, Daktronics has put in new technology at Memorial Stadium, Northern Illinois’ Huskie Stadium, Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium and Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium. 

Other projects Daktonics has worked on in the past include video boards at football stadiums at Iowa State and South Carolina, a video board at the Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park and LED displays outside the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center.  

The previous 22-by-39-foot display at Memorial Stadium’s south end was in use for 11 seasons, beginning in 2002. The disassembly of it began Jan. 28.  

“The University really wanted to keep the existing concrete structure in place, so we custom designed the entire end zone display configuration to fit with their needs,” said Daktronics sales representative Tony Mulder. “I think the brainstorming and design sessions led to an excellent solution that the University will really be proud of and enjoy for many years.” 

Beside the video boards and ribbons, a new sound system has been installed in Memorial Stadium. And public address announcer Gene Honda — PA announcer for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks and the NCAA Final Four — is being brought back to Champaign for his second season behind the mic. 

Fans should have no problem understanding Honda or looking for themselves on the various video boards across Memorial Stadium. New video boards were fully operable by early August, and everything is expected to be up and running when the Illini kick off against Southern Illinois on Aug. 31.

Sean can be reached at and @sean_hammond.